As a result of Brexit, Britain’s tourism profile after leaving the European Union on 31 January 2020, from rising costs in the tourism industry to a reduction in cheap labour.
On June 23, 2016, British voters voted in favor of Britain’s exit from the European Union in a special referendum, which took effect on January 31, 2020. The decision to leave the European Union has far-reaching effects on various sectors including immigration, trade and tourism. Many of the long-term consequences have not yet fully emerged and are likely to become clearer in the coming months and years.
UK post-Brexit immigration policy
For a large number of EU citizens, it is now a bit more difficult to holiday in the UK. Before Brexit, anyone with a national ID card from any EU country could enter the UK freely. But from October 1, 2021, now only passport holders of these countries have this facility. It should be noted that according to estimates, one-third of EU citizens do not have passports.
Decrease in number of tourists
According to a report published last November by the British tourism authority, Visit Britain, the number of visits by European citizens to the UK in 2022 is down by almost a third compared to 2019 – although that may not be true. It may be that the essential reason for this decrease is only Brexit because in 2021, the corona virus also affected global travel and tourism on a large scale.
However, according to data from VisitBritain, of the 8 million people who visited the UK in April, May and June last year, around 5 million were EU citizens. And this number is not much different from those who went to Britain during the same period in 2019. In short, it is not clear whether this positive travel trend is related to the lifting of Covid travel restrictions or whether it is the result of greater acceptance of post-Brexit travel rules.
Rising hotel prices, hampering tourism
According to some European tour operators who arrange holidays in the UK, the UK’s hospitality sector has seen a significant increase in hotel costs, which is putting tourists at a disadvantage.
A German businessman (who did not want to be named) told DW that he had to pay for his own hotel rooms and other hospitality services due to the UK’s rising costs of hotel rooms and other hospitality services since Brexit. The prices of services have also increased.
He has been organizing holidays in Scotland for German, Austrian and Swiss tourists since the mid-1990s. “British hotels have doubled, even tripled their prices,” he told DW. Four or five years ago, if two people had to spend six to eight thousand euros for a 10-day stay, now they have to spend twice as much for the same tour package.”
According to researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Brexit has increased the amount of paperwork required to do business with European countries. For this reason, the cost of hospitality services and tourism offers has also increased. However, in this regard, other factors such as rising energy costs cannot be neglected. Because due to them, prices and inflation have increased significantly.
Shortage of staff in hotels, bars and restaurants
According to data collected by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, between June 2019 and June 2021, the number of EU workers working in the British hospitality sector has fallen by 25%.
Staff shortages in the British hospitality sector have had a further negative impact on tourism. The coronavirus lockdown has forced many hotel workers, housekeepers, servers, waiters, and other staff to seek jobs in other industries or return to their home countries. In the past, the British tourism sector was largely dependent on low-wage workers from EU countries, but this is no longer the case.
Brexit, European labor and new immigration rules
New post-Brexit immigration rules have made it more difficult for low-skilled EU citizens to enter the British labor market.
Furthermore, as freedom of movement for European workers between Europe and the UK has been restricted, firms that once employed Italian, Spanish and Greek workers have found it increasingly difficult to do so. Therefore, low-wage European workers can no longer easily enter the British labor market. Due to which there has been a very bad impact on the British hospitality sector. According to a recent article in the New York Times, staff shortages have forced many British restaurants to reduce hours.
British tourism industry
In this regard, Joss Croft, head of the UK’s tourism trade association, UK Inbound, told DW that he still believes the UK is a great place to visit, work and do business. and they hope to continue working and traveling between the UK and EU countries in the future. He added: “We know that people who come here in their youth tend to stay here until they are older, so this affinity for them to invest in the UK and trade with the UK is very important.” There are always possibilities.” Overall, Josscroft is optimistic about the future of Britain as a tourist destination.
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